I found this today while cleaning up my office. It wasn't dated but I think it was probably written in 2014 when I was a regular public transit rider.


There is a lot of talk these days about how people spend too much time on their phones - looking down at their phones. The anti-phone/tablet hype about the good ole days when people looked up is starting to get on my nerves.

What people are actually upset about is that they do not know what you are doing when they look at you.

Would it bother these same people if they passed by two people playing chess in the park? Would it bother them to pass by someone reading a book or a newspaper? Would they turn to those people in scorn to tell them to "look up"?

What if someone was sitting under a tree reading the Bible or they were drawing a picture or writing, let's say, a book? Would we shout them to scorn? No, we would most likely think they were engaged in perfectly acceptable activities.

What if we saw a mother and daughter exchanging thoughts or memories or their laughing about their daily excursions? What if they were shopping together? What if we saw two lovers sitting side-by-side watching the sunset? How about a bunch of teenagers playing a board game, laughing together?

It's strange to me that witnessing these types of activities wouldn't upset most people or cause them to feel angry.

What most people are actually getting upset about these days is that they do not know what you are doing when they see you looking down at your device. They are upset they have been left out, blocked from a public view of what you are doing.

I am on a bus right now using pen and paper to write these thoughts which I am going to digitize when I get the chance. Everyone on the bus knows I am writing. If I was on my phone doing the same thing, they might have a different perspective.

When you see people looking at their phones, why not assume they are reading the paper, a book, studying, working, engaging with humanity in the same ways we always have done but using new methods.

It's not the end of the world as we know it but a greatly expanded world.

Instead of being offended when we see people looking down, try assuming they might actually be looking up. Try not to judge what you cannot see. We are, after all, social beings built to engage with one another. The fact we are doing so in ways never before known doesn't mean we are not engaging.

Try to break the cycle of believing that the rising generation is lost just because you feel lost and left behind. Try to save your anger for distracted drivers and the person who violates social etiquette by looking at their phone in the midst of a personal conversation with you.


I found this today while cleaning up my office. It wasn't dated but I think it was probably written two or three years ago when I was a regular public transit rider.